Planning Christmas for Children Without Any Money

December 12, 2017

An outdoor evergreen tree decorated for Christmas.Christmas means a lot of different things to different people. One Christmas, my husband and I were really down on our luck, but I am a firm believer in things happen for a reason. I also believe that Christmas isn't about charge cards and buying and material things.


We were sitting at the table and my husband and I were talking to the boys and they asked if we were going to put a tree up this year. I told them money was real tight but we would see what we could do. My husband asked them to make a list of what they wanted for Christmas and something they remember from their childhood.

The next morning, the boys handed us the list and headed out to do chores. My husband and I read the list and began to laugh. You see, their gifts would be something we already had. Our oldest said he remembers riding his bike and jumping the culverts and losing his wheel and tire in the air. Our youngest remembers taking all the graphics off his used bike and redoing it and making it his own. He wants paint to redo his bike and also wants to redo his brother's bike so he will redo both. In the garage, there is a wheel and tire and paint and tape. It has been there waiting just in case the time came when it might be needed.


That night about midnight, we heard a noise and saw some light so we got up to check. Our boys solved our tree problem. We have a little evergreen tree out in front of the house and they took the lights and garland and dressed that tree up nice. I think that is the best that tree ever looked. In case you are wondering, my oldest son did get my youngest son a gift, a furry little rabbit.


Gold Post Medal for All Time! 523 Posts
December 24, 20173 found this helpful
Top Comment

I will never fall into the guilt trap corporate America would impose on us if we can't afford to give everyone everything they would like to have for Christmas. I see you haven't fallen into that trap, either.


My Mother told me that when she was a small child, all her combined Christmas gifts usually consisted of an apple or orange, and maybe one or two sticks of peppermint candy. She grew into a wonderful woman and was never affected by her meager Christmases.

Thank you for a wonderful story.

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5 Questions

Here are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community.

December 20, 2008

Is there any way I can give my family a Christmas. I have 6 kids that I cannot give Christmas to. My husband lost his job. Anyone have any ideas?

Rachael from Lawson, MO


Silver Post Medal for All Time! 267 Posts
December 21, 20081 found this helpful

(submitted via email)
Contact your local church for help with the kids and maybe even a job for your husband. Also, the school your attending. As a daycare provider information to pass out to parents in need. For instance through your local workforce funds for transportation and transportation is available. In Texas its called WIA.


I have parents that were given funds for work clothes, gas, and one parent is picked up at her job, brought to my house to pick her kids up and taken home daily. Contact your local workforce and begin reaching out to the community. You would be surprised what comes back to you and yours.


December 21, 20081 found this helpful

I have been there. I have always figured out a way. I have been poor, poor, poor. I am a single mom of two boys and they recently told me, "Mom I had no idea we were ever poor. We always had presents and we thought we always got most of what we ever wanted." I will admit it was easier to "fool" them when they were young. Before I went back to college and earned my engineering was my game...Check out ALL churches, Salvation Army, Goodwill, St. Vincent DePaul, wherever you can find help. There is no pride when it comes to giving kids a Christmas. I don't care-work every angle you can. Speak well, and explain your situation. Tell a person you trust at their school about the predicament. Do what everyone should do but doesn't when they lose a job-TELL EVERYONE.


That means everyone. Tell the lady at the grocer that the Reaganomics, trickle down economics finally worked, and that the Wall Street meltdown hit your family and you just don't know what you are going to do. You would be surprised the kind of information, and sometimes even help, you can get by telling everyone. And when all else fails, do what I did, look around the house and everything you see of any value that is less important to you than giving your kids Christmas, collect it all up and decide where to sell it. Craigslist, newspaper ad, ebay, whatever, what you gotta do. Tell people in your posting why you are selling it. Period.

October 29, 20190 found this helpful

contact your salvation army

Answer this Question

June 21, 2016

This is a page about having a good Christmas without gifts. Christmas can still be a joyful giving time, even if you are not able to buy gifts for your family.

Father and young girl decorating a Christmas tree

November 29, 2021

Every year, there are financial troubles around the holidays and this year will be no different. Christmastime can be hard for families, especially with young children, if funds are tight.


Here are some ideas submitted by our ThriftyFun community. If you have any tips, please post them here.

A drawn Christmas scene with stick people.


ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

December 20, 2008
Click to read more ideas from older posts on ThriftyFun.
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